Kevin Harvick edged out Jeff Gordon during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying at Bristol (Ten.) on Friday with a 14.607-second/131.362 mph lap during the second round to claim the pole for Saturday night’s Irwin Tools night race. The lap broke the previous Bristol qualifying record set by Denny Hamlin in March. It’s Harvick’s fifth pole of 2014.
“It feels great,” Harvick said. “Just have to thank everybody on our Jimmy John’s team for, really, everything they do every week for qualifying and race cars that they bring to the race track are just incredibly fast. They have helped improve my qualifying record a tremendous amount. Today was no different.”
With Gordon claiming the second spot on the starting grid, alsongside Harvick, Chevrolet swept the front row.
“It was a great day,” Gordon said. “I thought our car was a little bit better in race trim than it was in qualifying trim when we swapped over. There were tricky conditions, very tricky conditions, here.”
Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch were third and fourth fastest in the second and final round of qualifying to claim second-row spots on the grid.
Also advancing from the first round to claim starting spots fifth through 12th in the second round were Joey Logano, Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch, Greg Biffle, Brad Keselowski, Marcos Ambrose, Ryan Newman and Kasey Kahne.
Forty-three cars, the exact number necessary for a full race field, entered, so all who entered will receive spots on the starting grid, including Aric Almirola and Casey Mears, who didn’t post lap times in qualifying. Series rookie Kyle Larson will also start in the back after hitting the wall in qualifying.